Meaning of descendant in English:


Pronunciation /dɪˈsɛnd(ə)nt/

See synonyms for descendant

Translate descendant into Spanish


  • 1A person, plant, or animal that is descended from a particular ancestor.

    ‘she's a descendant of Charles Darwin’
    • ‘Most biologists consider it the direct descendant of the ancestor of the domesticated two-humped species.’
    • ‘People also expect the deceased to maintain interest in their descendants, as ancestral spirits.’
    • ‘Some of the plaintiffs are direct descendants of those early settlers.’
    • ‘Some of the fossils are proving pivotal in testing the hypothesis that birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs.’
    • ‘He had made something of himself despite the fact he had most likely been a descendant of a slave.’
    • ‘The lineal descendants of a farmer have the first right to purchase a farm.’
    • ‘The preferred marriage partner should come from the same neighborhood and be a descendant of a common ancestor.’
    • ‘Until 1994, the company was owned by the descendants of the founders.’
    • ‘They disappeared along with the dinosaurs when that period ended, leaving no modern descendants.’
    • ‘All three of us here are living descendants of that powerful family.’
    • ‘Their descendants have been left in a quandary.’
    • ‘If they did, it would mark them as descendants of a common ancestor.’
    • ‘Their wanderings ceased when they reached the beautiful mountain home where their descendants live today.’
    • ‘Will our descendants live most of their lives in a virtual reality?’
    • ‘How important is ethnicity for the descendants of emigrants?’
    • ‘As time passes, these species, together with their various descendant species, continue to diverge.’
    • ‘Eventually, the DNA materials may be able to link the crew members with their living descendants.’
    • ‘My ancestors were priests, but none of the present generation descendants are priests.’
    • ‘The people who attend them are first-generation immigrants or more likely their second and third generation descendants.’
    • ‘Birds - the feathered descendants of the dinosaurs - fascinate her.’
    successor, scion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A machine, artefact, system, etc., that has developed from an earlier, more rudimentary version.
      ‘house music is a descendant of disco’
      • ‘The project is a direct descendant of the Learning Design Tools project and other predecessor projects in the E-learning and Pedagogy programme.’
      • ‘An argument can be made that since so many Cajun pioneers copied the Creole accordionist that Cajun music is a descendant of Creole music. But that's another column.’
      • ‘The internet is not the descendant of the telephone, nor has it replaced it.’


The correct spelling for the noun meaning ‘person descended from a particular ancestor’ is descendant, not -ent. Descendent is a less common adjective meaning ‘descending from an ancestor’. Almost 15 per cent of the citations for the term in the Oxford English Corpus use the wrong spelling


Late Middle English (as an adjective in the sense ‘descending’): from French, present participle of descendre ‘to descend’ (see descend). The noun dates from the early 17th century.